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Terry's Original Quote Keepers

A minute of silence can be more productive than an hour of debate.
~Terry Braverman

Arrest yourself when under the influence of a negative thought.
~Terry Braverman

Give me levity, or give me death!
~Terry Braverman

An intimate relationship is the ultimate training.
~Terry Braverman

Clarity of purpose is the ultimate decongestant.
~Terry Braverman

Faith keeps the voice of fear out of your ear.
~Terry Braverman

Peace begins between your ears.
~Terry Braverman

Peace begins between your ears.
~Terry Braverman

Be patient, before you become a patient.
~Terry Braverman

Over-analysis causes paralysis.
~Terry Braverman

May the 'farce' be with you.
~Terry Braverman

Plan some time to be spontaneous.
~Terry Braverman

Laugh at yourself, and you will always be amused.
~Terry Braverman

Imagination sharpens the dull blade of routine.
~Terry Braverman

Inquisitiveness cures boredom; nothing cures inquisitiveness.
~Terry Braverman

Feed your soul, starve your worries.
~Terry Braverman

Avoid time in the Tower of Babble.
~Terry Braverman

Release any false sense of insecurity.
~Terry Braverman

Life is a fantasy, made real by our thoughts.
~Terry Braverman

A Better Way Than Planning, Passion & Hard Work?

(Reprinted from an article by Richard Gabel)

 

All this planning, passion, blood, sweat and tears are over-rated when it comes to entrepreneurial success. Obsessive compulsive worry-wart planning fanatics really need to chill out. For God’s sake, trading your freedom for success is a line no one should cross. If you can’t just go with the flow, but must march to some predetermined plan, what kind of success is that? Passion has its place, but for the life of me, I just don’t see it in business. That’s how people have heart attacks. Not advice I’ll be giving out anytime soon. As far as blood, sweat and tears are concerned, when’s the last time you saw a picture of a CEO on the cover of Fortune or Forbes breaking out in a sweat, crying or covered in blood. Correct, never happens. What you see the big boys doing is golfing, sailing and pontificating with their feet up on the desk.

 

Let me offer up a couple real world ways of achieving entrepreneurial success without really trying:

Success is always a function of where you’ve set the bar. Hello, lower the bar. Wake up in the morning, success! Give yourself a gold star. Make toast without burning it, you are a sensation. Go to a networking event and convince someone you’ve actually ever sold anything, you’re a phenomenon. Don’t sweat the big stuff, savor the sweet smell of success with the best of them. Get that bar down to a point you can walk over it. Let the rocket man next door shoot for the stars. Be smart and keep your feet on the ground and your goals too.

 

If you’ve made it through life without really trying so far you probably already know the next best thing to success is having good reasons why failure wasn’t your fault. You actually succeeded, but someone else screwed it up. Just the right spin and it’s sweet success. Just don’t reach for the tab after pulling this one off at the local watering hole. Let Mr. or Mrs. Rugged Individualism pick that one up. Self-reliance and personal responsibility will keep you awake at night. Give your business a try, but the smart money always has their excuses lined up and ready to go.

 

What a wonderful segue into the ultimate formula for success. Forget the Horatio Alger stories. The one sure fire way of avoiding failure and guaranteeing success is to not try in the first place. Far more fun to sit back and make fun of those that crash and burn and discount the success of others. You’ll always know that had you tried, you would have done it right and have shown all those clowns a thing or two. Visualizing success is far easier than putting it all on the line.

 

There you have it friends, three solid alternatives to risking your money, dignity and easy-going life style pursuing some entrepreneurial dream. Don’t try, claim success if not for the unfortunate intervention of people and events beyond your control or set your goals for a no lose proposition. I’ve shared with you the secrets of success, if you screw-up don’t come cry on my shoulder.

Interview With Chris Robert

INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS ROBERT

(reprinted from Business Week)

 

Do you have a cranky boss? Some bosses act as though they're allergic to humor, bristling when employees joke around in the office and fretting over the line between humor and harassment. But Chris Robert, assistant professor of management at the University of Missouri-Columbia's Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business, says joking around on the job can actually have a positive effect on productivity and employee retention. Robert, whose findings have been published as a chapter in a recent edition of the journal Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, spoke about his findings to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

 

Why did you decide to do an academic study on workplace humor?

 

I've always appreciated how humor is an important part of the day-to-day work life, and I've always been interested and intrigued by how humor works. I've also done research on the subject of cross-cultural management styles and noticed how some humor works well in our culture, but not in other places.

 

Have you found that humor is definitely culturally specific?

 

Sure, somewhat. But on the other hand you typically hear things like, "Don't use humor in international business settings, it'll fall flat or you'll offend someone." But my experience is that that's not the worst thing in the world. And the upside is really positive: Almost nothing makes you more comfortable than sharing a laugh about something universal, like kids. So sometimes humor works exceedingly well across cultures to make people feel better about each other and about doing business together.

 

I approached the topic of humor initially from the cross-cultural angle, but then I decided to survey the literature and found that there wasn't much out there in terms of empirical work on humor. There are lots of armchair theorizers, but not many good studies. So a business doctoral student, Wan Yan, and I looked at the fields of anthropology, communications, and sociology to see what might inform what we'd expect to see in business organizations.

 

And what did you find?

 

We found pretty good theory and evidence suggesting that humor at the individual level is important. The use of humor, and the ability to produce and make humor, is associated with intelligence and creativity, two things highly valued in workplaces. More important, the link between humor and positive emotions seems strong, which is intuitive, and there's also a strong correlation between positive emotions and workplace performance.

 

So are you saying that a funny employee can help promote a happy, productive workplace?

 

No one has really studied humor as an important part of employee performance directly, but we do know that positive affect in the workplace increases individual performance. And humor is one of the things associated with a positive affect, which increases not only productivity, but also the ability to communicate well with the boss, co-workers, and customers. It also enhances the degree to which you feel bonded, cohesive, and part of the group in the workplace.

 

That's where employee retention comes into it. If you have positive emotions about your job, you're less likely to quit. And maybe part of that is because of the fun you're having in the break room. You might get a better job offer, but it will take more to draw you away when you like where you work and you like the people you work with.

 

It seems as if we often get negative reactions to humor from those armchair theorizers or from the legal perspective. Why do you think that is?

 

Humor enables people to make comments that they might not otherwise make. If you can wrap something up in humor and say, "Oh, I'm just kidding around," you might be able to say something offensive that you wouldn't say without the humor. So I think often people blame humor in general when someone's making an offensive comment within humor. I think of humor as the medium, not the message. If someone makes a sexually charged comment, but they use humor to do it, should we blame humor or should we blame the person's intentions? We don't want to shoot the messenger.

 

In the same sense, doesn't humor also give employees the freedom to criticize or complain about their jobs?

 

Sure. If the business owner or manager is someone who doesn't respond well to direct challenges from employees, they might find a way to criticize indirectly with humor. In that case, I'd advise the business owner to take the message seriously. The person making the joke might be challenging you, which could be a problem, or you might be getting a subtle communication from one employee that other employees also feel. If an employee makes a joke about a supervisor, other people probably agree with that joke. Humor producers know that other people are listening to their joke and they're more likely to make it if they think the others will appreciate it.

 

In that sense, humor can be used effectively by the business owner to understand how employees are thinking. It could create an opportunity for you to address a complaint or criticism that you wouldn't hear about otherwise.

 

How did your study find that humor relates to workplace creativity?

 

The primary theory about humor, which is well accepted, is that it stems from incongruity. In other words, we find jokes or comments funny because they are linking two things together—perhaps through a punch line—that you wouldn't normally link together, or that shouldn't go together. Essentially, that's what creativity is, too: Putting things together in a unique way, like using the Internet for something people wouldn't have thought of before.

 

It's likely that some of the same neural processes enable both humor and creativity, so those two things kind of go hand in hand. A number of studies show that a funny person is also likely to be a very creative person.

 

How do your findings translate to the hiring decisions that small business owners have to make?

 

That's an interesting issue, and in fact we're working on a paper about that right now. Should you select the funny guy for a job? I don't necessarily think you want to select the class clown, someone who's constantly joking and has to be the center of attention all the time. That could be too much for a workplace, it could get distracting for the other employees, and any boss would probably have valid worries about that kind of person. But if you can get some more subtle indicators in an interview that someone has a good sense of humor—say, they appreciate humor or they find things funny—that might be someone you want to have around. The other thing is that humor is viral. When someone's laughing, it's kind of contagious and it can spread a positive general benefit to the workplace.

Making An Impression In Times of Crisis

At my seminars, I talk about one of the ways to develop a humorous perspective, which is to ask yourself, if you’re in a crisis or embarrassing situation, how would someone else react if they were in your shoes (a favorite comedian, famous person, etc.).And who would be better to ask that question to than the master impressionist himself, Rich Little.

 

A few years ago I interviewed him for a feature article in my newsletter, and he recalled a time when he used his talent to avoid a potentially dangerous encounter: “Once I was confronted by a bunch of thugs who I thought were going to beat me up. It was in south Florida and I was pretty scared, but within 15 minutes I had them laughing. I was doing my whole act and they were applauding! So I turned that around I don’t remember exactly how. I think I went into Louie Armstrong. But it was scary. They didn’t know who I was, but when I started doing the impressions they lost their incentive to beat me up.”

 

I asked him what other characters he assumes in those dicey situations. He replied, “Once in a while if I get angry I go into Kirk Douglas; if I do something silly I might go into Jack Benny, just out of embarrassment more than anything. One time I was in a supermarket and there was a pyramid-stacked display with cans of peas. I just pulled one of the cans out of the bottom without thinking, and about 200 cans of peas fell down. There was a tremendous noise and the whole store ran over. I was standing there as Jack Benny, holding this can of peas, and I said to the crowd, `Well, the ones on the bottom were on sale.’”

 

He continued: “I’ve done a lot of pranks on the phone using voices, like ordering room service as characters. I can figure out the popularity of (famous people) by how fast I could get it delivered. I once ordered a cheeseburger as Richard Nixon and it never came. But Cary Grant could get it there in about three minutes.” Even if we don’t have the comedic talent of a Rich Little, jumping into a character can help us put a better perspective on trying circumstances.

Humor Risk Management

Employing humor in the workplace has its risks and rewards. If you are going to poke fun at someone, let it be you, or a person with whom you have a solid relationship and you know they will take it in good humor. This is especially true if the humor has a sarcastic twinge to it. Otherwise, it would be wise to avoid sarcasm or any humor that is at the expense of someone else.

 

Poking fun at yourself is a safe form of humor, unless you bludgeon yourself with it, which makes others uncomfortable. If you’re doing business in Japan, it would be prudent to avoid self-deprecating humor since it’s not embraced in their culture. On the other hand, they love puns and cartoons. Neutral subjects such as the weather are usually OK to make a joke about in any culture. Common gripes that a group of workers share collectively are a safe haven for humor. But no matter what, there is always an element of risk involved because you cannot be 100% certain how people will take it.

 

Humor can fall flat and even boomerang, depending on the mood, the timing and the environment. Keep those factors in mind and use both intuition and common sense. If you are uncertain at all, you can preface your quip or joke by saying, “I just thought of something that I think is humorous. Can I share it with you?” Even if it flops, at least you had their permission to share it.

15 Tips to Lighten Up at Work

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